Technology is a wonderful thing.
What isn't so wonderful is the price you'll pay for top-tier software solutions to common business problems. Project management has traditionally been an area that is ripe for technological solutions . . . But as you probably guessed, project management software can come with a hefty price tag.
Managing the cost of project management software means knowing what you need before you start shopping. If you occasionally manage simple office projects, an entry-level software package is more than enough to meet your job requirements. But if you're managing multiple, complex business projects on a daily basis, a more robust solution is definitely in order.
Even more importantly, you'll need to have a general idea about the manner in which you want to access your software application. A solution that requires single-user access is a much different beast than one that requires access for dozens of project participants. Here are few other things to keep in mind about the typical costs of project management software.
Project management software is available in two different platforms: Desktop and web-based. Each platform has its own pricing scheme as well as its own advantages and drawbacks. Desktop project management software is installed on the user's hard drive (single-user environment) or on a network server (multi-user environment). Users pay an upfront fee for licensing, but can then use the software in perpetuity – or at least until they transition to a different solution several years down the road. Costs for desktop solutions vary from hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on the complexity and scope of the application. The benefit is that users get faster response times and more control over their solution.
Web-based software, or Software as a Service (SaaS) applications have become increasingly popular with small businesses because there is no upfront investment. Instead of purchasing a license, users pay a monthly subscription fee based on the solution and the number of users who require access. The service provider is responsible for maintaining the system and storing data, so businesses can avoid costly hardware upgrades. Costs for web-based project management software run from $25 to $100 per month for a single user with up-charges for each additional user who requires access to the application.